How to add a gathered fabric effect with elastic

Creating clothes is all about working with shapes and effects. A slight gathered effect can make the difference between a rather plain looking top, or a top that has a nice visual effect. This effect can be made by sewing a tunnel, threading the tunnel with cord or elastic and pulling it tighter.

But why would I spend so much time on a complicated tunnel construction if I can create the same effect in just a couple of minutes? In this post I’ll show you how. Let’s start out with a plain top. I made this one from lycra, but all stretch fabrics and knitted fabrics would work for this technique.

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I finish the edges, then take a piece of elastic and pin the top to the fabric. I then use the pins to create a guide for the elastic. The elastic is free to move in between the pins, yet remains in place. I prefer starting on the top so that’s where I’ll start sewing.

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Taking the top with my I use a wide zigzag stitch to stitch the top 3 mm/ 1/5th” of the elastic into place.

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I then pull the elastic towards me and continue sewing. Make sure that the underlying fabric stays smooth. Feeding the fabric and the elastic through the machine, it will look like this from the inside.

 

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When turned inside out, the effect is clearly visible.

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This top is part of a skirt and top combination that I made for the student recital in June. The pattern of the skirt can be found here.

student recital 2016

I love to hear from you if you used this technique and liked it! Let me know in the comments below or on facebook. Thanks for reading and see you soon!

I am a professional bellydancer and costume-a-holic living in the Netherlands. My biggest passion is teaching and performing bellydance and I intent to continue for quite some time! If you enjoyed this post and like to be kept in the loop, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. Leave your questions or comments in the box below, or let me know through Facebook.

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